The transition towards low-carbon thermal energy systems requires solid information provision to support both public and private decision-making, which is future proof and optimal in the context of the system dependencies. We adopt a data ecosystem approach to answer the following research question: How can a data ecosystem be analyzed and developed to enable the data-driven support of the local thermal energy transition, by capturing both social and technical aspects of the urban thermal energy system? A case study research design of the Netherlands, with an embedded case of the city of Utrecht therein, was used, including data collection involving 21 expert interviews representing a diversity of stakeholders, and qualitative data analysis using NVivo version 10. The data ecosystem includes the necessary elements, roles, and context for decision makers in a local heat transition and captures the social as well as technical aspects of an urban thermal energy system. Assessment of the data ecosystem pertaining to thermal heat transition in the city of Utrecht shows that it is still in its infancy phase, with challenges, barriers, and shortcomings in all its key elements. We present suggestions for the (re-)design of an inclusive and holistic data ecosystem that addresses the current shortcomings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number444
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Data ecosystem, Energy transition, Open data, Sustainable energy, Thermal energy system

ID: 69464013